People often ask me how I became a celebrant.
The truth is that I had never heard of the term “civil celebrant”. In 2012 I was plying a different trade (fairly unsuccessfully!), and turned up at a business networking event. I noticed a man on his own, so I approached and asked him what he did. David explained that he created and conducted civil ceremonies for people.
Not necessarily religion
The only life-cycle ceremonies I had experienced thus far had been attending full religious ones. Some were Jewish – of various types – some Christian, one Hindu. I had enjoyed some more than others. They had always been conducted by an ordained minister following a standard order of service.
David told me that it was he who created a bespoke order of service. He would meet and then work together with the family to give them ideas and guidance so that he could draw up a draft service.
There was no reason why he couldn’t put in religious elements, part-religious ones or keep it strictly secular. It all depended on the client. Every one of the elements would be discussed with and agreed by the client.
This began to make sense to me. After all, why shouldn’t you have the ceremony that you want for your big day?
There would then be an exchange of e-mails and the client would end up with exactly the ceremony of his/her dreams, having approved every word. Then it would be down to David’s presentation skills on the day.
I loved the concept. I also knew that I had the skills needed. I am a good listener and have learned the sort of questions I need to ask; I can write well; and, although I am basically shy, I am very happy to stand up in front of a crowd and deliver a memorable service. (I’ve never quite understood that!)
Anyway, I was smitten. I rang David a night or two later with a few more questions, and knew this was for me. So, to training.
David pointed me in the right direction, and I wasted no time. While I was training as a Wedding Celebrant, it was pointed out that I possessed the qualities for a funeral celebrant. (Not sure how much of a compliment that might be!) Anyway, that was my next course of study.
And then, duly certified, I was let out into the wide world!
I have thoroughly enjoyed my years to date as a celebrant. I have enabled couples to have the ceremony of their dreams – and that includes conducting funerals that are “just right”. No two ceremonies have ever been the same. Sometimes, I have had to work under quite severe pressure, and not everything has always gone to plan. However, I have had a marvellous, fulfilling, rewarding time so far, and expect to continue doing so for a few years to come.
I certainly have no regrets about becoming a civil celebrant!